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Tennessee Governor Lee Signs Brownfield TIF Bill into Law

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

On April 30, 2019, Governor Bill Lee signed SB0355 into law, amending the Brownfield TIF Law, by expanding the number of brownfield sites eligible for tax increment financing in the state of Tennessee and removing restrictions that had limited the effectiveness of the original, 2011 bill.  

Previously, in the 2011 Brownfield TIF Law, an urban brownfield redevelopment project had to occur in a county with a population of 80,000 or more. Additionally, qualified costs included tasks such as site work, roads, streets, sidewalks, bridges, parks, greenways, plazas, and other similar infrastructure. With the new bill, redevelopment zones now include small to medium counties with a population of 336,400 or less as well as language defining eligible costs for remediation and mitigation of a brownfield project. 

Remaining from the 2011 law, an economic impact plan may be submitted to an Industrial Development Board (IDB) for approval, showing the need and benefits of the redevelopment.  The TIF funding includes a portion of the incremental increases in property tax and sales tax in a plan area.  Sales taxes are not typically utilized in other TIF programs in Tennessee.

“This new amendment removes some of the restrictive hurdles that were in the previous bill and gives all communities and stakeholders in the state a chance to put this program in their redevelopment toolbox,” said John Hargraves, Regional Manager of PM’s Brownfield Group.

The amendment goes on to further eliminate some of the size requirements for brownfield projects including the reference that parcels must be at least 100 acres. Still, the land must include a manufacturing, industrial, distribution or retail facility. Previously, the bill stated a single facility on the land must be at least 1 million square feet to qualify. Now, the amendment allows for multiple facilities on a site to meet the 1 million square feet threshold.  In addition, the scope of economically disadvantaged areas eligible was expanded to include qualified opportunity zones.

The amendment took immediate effect upon being signed into law by the governor.